Antisemitic incidents in Austria reached record high in 2020

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Antisemitic incidents in Austria reached record high in 2020

Report by country's Jewish community finds it coincided with rising protests against coronavirus lockdowns

Michael Daventry is foreign editor of Jewish News

Vienna makes for a charming Austrian capital
There were 585 reported antisemitic incidents last year, including in the capital Vienna

Anger at coronavirus lockdowns in Austria helped drive incidents of antisemitism to a record high last year, according to the organisation that represents the country’s Jews.

A report by the Jewish Community of Vienna (IKG) said the total number of incidents across 2020 rose by 6.4% to 585, the highest since records began nearly two decades ago.

There were 11 cases of physical attacks on Jews, a rise from five the year before.

It added that most incidents were reported in the last two months of 2020, when protests against coronavirus restrictions peaked — although the office also launched a public awareness campaign around the time that might have increased the number of cases reported.

“The protests against the government’s coronavirus measures also left their mark, leading to a strong increase in antisemitic incidents,” the report said.

Those incidents mainly involved relativising the lockdown experience to the Holocaust, and spreading antisemitic conspiracy theories, it added.

The report said around 40% of incidents had a right-wing political motivation, making for the largest category.

The second largest was of 195 incidents that were “not possible to assign”.

15% were attributable to the left while a similar number of incidents — 13% — had an Islamist extremist motive.

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